147: a ball of inertia with a collection of offal

Hullo.

I have a minor cold, but don’t worry, I strong suspect it really is just a cold, and I have been self-isolating my entire life.

Four
Vandalising
Ludochat
Prepping, but not the kind you’re thinking of
Byyyyeeee!!!

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This week the final hardcover edition of The Wicked + the Divine reaches comic shops. It should be in normal book shops the following week. This is the last Wicked + the Divine release presently on the slate. We’ve got no further plans for anything else – we talked about doing a Covers coffee table book, but there’s nothing firmer than an idea.

We get asked whether we’re considering an all in one omnibus, like Walking Dead and Saga, and the answer is basically “No”. We use spreads much more than either, and use the gutters more too. As such, we suspect it’d be rendered substandard, and we don’t want to do that. It’s possible we may find a way, of course, but at the moment, we haven’t got it.

Which leaves the four hard-covers, in their towering glory, the deluxe mode for reading WicDiv.

Here it is, out in the wild, courtesy of allwrongthink.

And here’s side on…

As you can see, the fourth one is especially going for it. It’s a two-book set. The larger of the two books is the three core volumes of 7, 8 and 9, ending with the last pages of 9. The smaller is the remaining two specials (The funnies and the Christmas special) which aren’t strictly speaking part of the reading order, plus all the supplementary making of material, and my writers notes. My edited writers notes, I stress. Not that stuff is removed – but that stuff is rendered readable by C, and not just downloaded in a document and released without a re-read. Also it includes my notes for WicDiv 45, which I haven’t released online, as I wanted to leave a gap for readers to breathe before putting my own things in the mix.

Basically, this is exactly how we wanted to do this edition. In a real way, when the 1-2-3-4 of the four spines are side by side on my bookshelf downstairs Wicdiv will be complete. This ritual we scrawled upon this world is done, exactly how we like it.

That’s so strange and lucky. Even putting aside everything else Image gives a creator in terms of rights, the level of control you can choose to deploy is above and beyond anything else in mainstream comics publishing. For a book like WicDiv where control has to be absolute, it’s the only place where it could come into existence. And now it has.

I have the WicDiv playlist on while writing this, and it’s been a while since I’ve done it. It’s already a little musty, as if I put it in a memory box and shuffling through.

Play With Fire drops, and Lucifer walks out through the wall, looking for caffeine and I salute her. Onwards. It’s been fun.

The Wicked + the Divine: Year Four is available from all good comic shops now, along with all other The Wicked + the Divine volumes.

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Signings!

Firstly, on Wednesday 25 March  2019 from 18:00 to 19:00 at the Forbidden Planet megastore, where we’ll be launching the first volume of ONCE & FUTURE. FP have an exclusive edition with a Lafuente cover too, which is lovely.

(I popped in to sign some bookplates and stock on Saturday, and they got a little footage. It is a poor use of superpowers, I know.)

Secondly…

Jim and I will be launching Ludocrats on April 1st at GOSH from 6 to 7.

I feel a little bad that there’s no flier to link to for the FP one. Both will be great!

Of course, I have no idea if there will be signings in two week’s time, or we’ll all be just be covered in so much hand sanitizer that we all look like Blob Herman from the X-men.

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You know, we’ve only done one (count it!) Ludocrats interview. This is it, with Dynamic Forces. Let’s choose a random answer…

DF: Can you at least attempt to introduce some of the protagonists we will encounter in this 5-issue mini?

Jim Rossignol: The principles are Baron Otto Von Subertan and Count Hades Zero-K, which are my own and Gillen’s alter-egos from the original materials, respectively. Otto, a ball of inertia with a collection of offal, and Hades, the scion of a dynasty of sentient soundwaves. Each has their own approach to the mandate of ludicrousness, and their constant dynamic is that of an odd-couple partnership that solves not crime, but normalization.

Kieron Gillen: Our shorthand is that Otto is Obelix and Hades is Asterix. Otto is the force of nature and Hades is the one who is the smartest person in the room. This is very unlike our real natures, as Jim is the force of nature and the smartest person in the room. At least this room. Only we’re here, unless my cats have creeped in, then the order of smartness would be Bertha, Manny, Jim, me.

…but it’s worth reading. Partially as there hasn’t been many Ludocrats interviews, but mainly because it’s Jim and I doing our Jim and I routine.

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I did a thread on twitter where I asked GMs to post their preps for games. I included mine for the current DIE campaign. Yes, I lean minimalistic.

The last one is particularly threadbare. To choose one gnomic sequence “Get Mink To Map Shit” is as Mink’s persona is a children’s book author, and I was going to drop them into a deconstructed version of the book. Hence I could ask Mink “So – what’s meant to be north of here in your book?” and I’d build from that.

But that’s me. It was done in a mix of interest of seeing what what folks do and also to demystify the process to those who’ve never done it. The idea of the GM is a thing which can be intimidating for even those who play games, and look across the screen in wonder. Showing What Is Done seems useful, to underline how many different routes there are, and how small some of those are. The preparation is mainly for you, of course. It’s about making you feel equipped.

Go have a nose. It’s interesting and human. I love seeing the little scrawls that people are making their fantasy worlds from.

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I had a mouth ulcer, which is my normal tell it’s been a stressful week. It’s been a stressful week for everyone – with C’s family in Northern Italy that generalised worry is close for us too – but stressful for work reasons. It’s the pre-order cut off week for Ludocrats, which means there’s a whole bunch of extra work and drum-beating to do, plus the general worry about releasing a book into the direct market, let alone a book as left-field as Ludocrats is.

Still – that’s done, orders are in and the book is heading towards the printers. Issue 2 had the backmatter hammered into its final position and issue 3’s backmatter has all been written now. As said before, this is a monthly comic with a lot of stuff it. C will be getting to reading issue 5’s scripts shortly, so I’ll expect her coming to howl at Jim and me for what on earth we’ve done. Issue 4’s solicits are just going in, and Jeff’s cover is just something else entirely. The book as a whole will be unlike anything else on the stands, which has to be the aim. Given a blank canvas, use it. If not a better world, at least a more compelling terrible one.

Did some more tweaks on the first script for PROJECT BRIGHTER SHADE OF BLUE, and really need to get back to the diagrams I need to cook up for PROJECT COWBOY. As I’m ahead of my schedule today, I likely will try to do that. The actual new scripting work is DIE 13 this week, which has one half of the story written, and really just has the High Concept Historical Dive stuff written for it. It’s a question of editing as well – I suspect I could move some of the material to the fifth arc as well. It’s always editing.

Away from work, my plan to definitely not get a ghost army failed when Comrade Sheret offered to let me inherit his unpainted and partially unassembled ghost army. But as this ghost army has risen from the grave, which makes it doubly ghosty, so okay. My aim with these is to up my basing game, which has involved sawing hex-wraiths in half.

I also went to see Sasha Velour. I’m feeling run down, so don’t feel I can attack the page with energy to capture it. I’m deliberately shunting my work around so I am writing things which either have the been broken already or are mainly just a case of doing a bunch of work. To try and get the burst of ideas and emotion that Smoke & Mirrors was at the Palladium may beyond me. I could talk about how smart it was – not just in the art, but also the craft. For example, dropping your big hit early in the set speaks of the confidence of having other things to wow people, not wanting the possibility of it happening or not to distract people plus its up-beat catharsis not being in line with where she ended up taking the set – see, decisions within decisions within decisions. It also, as a performance, fucking killed. I couldn’t even keep my eyes open at the wig-lift moment. But really it was watching someone approaching a chosen form with the idea to try to do new things, do it with wit and emotion, to make me want to do it better, whatever “It” it is, and become aware of the possibilities in all things. I’d seen Sasha compare her Nightgowns before, but this was something else entirely, and made me wish to live my whole life over again, in the best possible way.

It’ll probably be the last gig I go to see for a while. That’s probably lucky for other gigs.

Speak soon.

Kieron Gillen
London
11.4.2020